Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves assisted with Monday’s draw for this week’s Race Of Champions competition in Miami, and it made for some very intriguing matchups.
Drivers from multiple racing disciplines including INDYCAR, NASCAR, Formula One, rallycross and more will compete Saturday and Sunday in identically prepared cars on a temporary track set up inside Marlins Park, the home of baseball’s Miami Marlins. INDYCAR drivers scheduled to compete are Hunter-Reay, Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alexander Rossi and Gabby Chaves.
In Saturday’s individual competition, Hinchcliffe and Kanaan are poised to square off in the opening round of Group C. Castroneves is in Group A and will battle the winner of a playoff race between 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi and another Andretti Autosport driver, Global Rallycross champ Scott Speed.
Montoya faces the challenge of two-time FIA World Rallycross champ Peter Solberg in the opening round of Group B, while Hunter-Reay is up against ex-Formula One standout and two-time ROC champion David Coulthard in Group D.
“It’s unbelievable to be back in South Florida racing cars again,” Hunter-Reay said. “I did the Miami Grand Prix back in the day (in CART), but to see a racetrack taking shape here in Marlins Park, where I bring my family for games, is incredible. And I also think it’s the best layout yet. I’m a hometown guy so hopefully the crowd will be cheering me on against two former ROC champions in my group.”
The Nations Cup competition Sunday finds Team USA INDYCAR (Hunter-Reay and Rossi) in the same group as Team USA NASCAR (brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch), Team USA Rally X (Speed and Travis Pastrana) and Team ROC Factor Canada (Hinchcliffe and Stefan Rzadzinski).
Nations Cup Group C is loaded with INDYCAR talent. Montoya and Chaves make up Team Colombia, Kanaan and F1’s Felipe Massa are Team Brazil and Castroneves holds up the Team ROC Factor Latin America banner with Gabriel Glusman.
“This is all about having a good time,” Castroneves said. “As for my group? I’m not worried! No, I respect all of the drivers and every one of them competing has some amazing qualities, plus switching cars throughout the event means the advantage will constantly be shifting. That’s why this is such a great event.”
In addition to the Nations Cup competition Sunday, the event will conclude with an America vs. the World competition that puts the six U.S. drivers against a team of six international drivers in a Ryder Cup-style competition. For Race Of Champions schedule and ticket information, visit raceofchampions.com.